The Trouble with eating at someone else’s house

I was just reading a post on a Celiac group I am a member of here on Facebook.  A lady was so frustrated with how she is being treated by her extended family (parents, siblings) and about ready to go off on someone.  

Boy, I have been there.  You may be there right now.  You cannot help having Celiac Disease and you are not doing it for attention.  The thing is your family loves you and isn’t trying to be hurtful.  They just don’t know any better.  When they invite you over and promise to have something you can eat and it’s a GF Frozen meal and they have a 5 course home cooked meal or when they say we have ice-cream you can eat and it has (non GF) cookies in it.  They really think they did good… until you show your displeasure that is.  

My experience is we all have a few family members, friends or even co-workers that just don’t get it.  My advice:  In time they will start to catch on.  They will learn that this is a real disease with real consequences and they will do better.  Time has a way of smoothing things out for most situations.  However, it is very hard to teach an old dog new tricks… so be careful. 

In the meantime give them “grace”.  You are not perfect, I am not perfect and they aren’t.  If we go somewhere that I have zero control over my food options, I eat before I go or take a snack.  If I’m not hungry at the event I won’t get “hangry” when they don’t have a thing I can eat.  In fact my husband and I have a dinner party we plan to attend in a couple of weeks, and I plan to call to see what food options they will have.  Chances are, I’ll eat prior to going.  That’s okay, we aren’t going for the food.  We are going to be with friends and to have a good time.  

We would love to hear about some of your experiences.  Leave comment below.  Thanks.

4 Comments on “The Trouble with eating at someone else’s house”

  1. It seems every time I visit family, no matter how hard I try to avoid cross-contamination, I still get sick. The symptoms continue severe for 3 months following my visit, yet my family thinks I’m being too strict/picky about my diet even though I bring and prepare all my own food and clean up before and after myself as I go. After I prepare a gluten free zone they will come around my food eating bread/cookies while I’m still preparing my meal or a gluten free meal for the family. It’s so frustrating that it makes it hard to visit my family at all. Even when ordering from the gluten free menu at restaurants, and requesting precautions, I still get cross contaminated at least 50% of the time, and my friends and family get annoyed with me when I’m reluctant to eat out with them. They find it hard to believe that one tiny crumb falling from a biscuit or a utensil used to pick up other foods could cause such a big and long-lasting physical response. Learning to live with severe gluten intolerance is not easy. I just wish people would be more understanding and compassionate, and that they would stop assuming that it’s all in my head. How could severe gastrointestinal symptoms and nutrient deficiencies be all in someone’s head?
    I am extremely grateful for businesses like yours that are 100% gluten free. It gives me a chance to enjoy a meal without having to worry about severe consequences. I just wish places like this were everywhere, so I could suggest a safe place when my friends and family want to eat out.

  2. Boy can we relate. My son is as sensitive as you, me on the other hand it take a bit more to effect me. Try and be patient with your loved ones, lack of knowledge leads to lack of understanding. It’s that simple. They still love you and you have to still love them. Just don’t have to look forward to eating with the. Blessings.

  3. i wonder if stress isn’t contributing to your flare-up. If you are cleaning the area and preparing the food, it seems odd that you would get so sick. I’m certainly aware that you DO GET SICK. My brother has celiac disease and visits without becoming ill. Personally, there are many absolutely delicious things that are gluten-free – breads, pastas, brownies, etc. We eat gluten-free right along with him and love the food. There are at least 2 possible suggestions 1) bring your own plates if you aren’t already, 2) come over after the meal and socialize with everyone. But all of you should relax and find a way to enjoy each otherand not be ill or angry afterwards. God Bless.

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